American Express - “(RED)” Campaign

American Express - “(RED)” Campaign
As the world’s largest travel agency, American Express offers travel and related consulting
services to individuals and corporations around the globe. American Express has contributed
significantly to sustainable travel, developing environmental and cultural heritage campaigns.
BACKGROUND Established in 1850, American Express was among the first successful
express delivery businesses to arise during the United States’ rapid westward expansion.
After issuing its premier charge card in 1958, the company began introducing local currency
cards in markets outside the United States, establishing one of the world’s strongest and
most identifiable business and brand names. It is led by CEO Kenneth Chenault, who joined the
company in 1981. Headquartered in New York City, American Express operates in more than
130 countries and employs approximately 65,000 people worldwide.
FOUNDATIONS OF ACTION Prior to becoming founding partner of the ground-breaking
RED campaign, American Express’ HIV/AIDS activities focused primarily on AIDS walks,
employee volunteering and other philanthropic initiatives. However, when U2 leader Bono
approached American Express’ Chief Marketing Officer John Hayes in 2005 with a new
initiative the company took a leap of faith in their business and signed on. American Express
demonstrated significant leadership from the get go by providing its research, marketing,
advertising, public relations and corporate social responsibility staff and expertise – as well
as its financial resources - for both Product (Red) and a new credit card.
American Express has been a GBC member company since December 2001.
KEY ACTIONS American Express (RED) credit card is a business model that engages
“conscience consumers” who want a simple, hassle free way of supporting women and
children affected by HIV/AIDS through their existing shopping habits. Launched in the UK
in March 2006, American Express donates a minimum of 1% to the Global Fund – for every
eligible pound spent - to help fight AIDS in Africa. Spending above £5,000 per year will
generate an increase of 1.25% on all spending above that amount, and an extra £5 will be
given to the Global Fund if card members make their first purchase on the card within the
first month.
American Express has also established partnerships with local and regional travel companies
to offer RED deals to its card members. Ranging from two for one cocktails and weekend
getaways to free additional nights at a luxury hotel, American Express has engaged and
created energy among its partners demonstrating that business can be both profitable and
positive for all.
Courtesy of American Express
American Express’s (RED) credit card
and a (RED) ad slogan/campaign
MAIN OUTCOMES AND LESSONS LEARNED Since its launch (RED) partners have contributed $45.5 million from
the sale of (RED) products to the Global Fund. More than half of these funds have flowed directly to Global Fund through
financed grants in Ghana, Rwanda and Swaziland. These grants are financing comprehensive national HIV/AIDS programs
led by the ministries of health, to provide antiretroviral treatment for children and adults, to assist in the prevention of
mother-to-child transmission of HIV, as well as essential counseling and testing activities to reduce the overall risk of HIV
transmission. The contribution made by Product (RED) partners is more than nine times the amount that businesses have
contributed to the Global Fund since it was founded in 2002.